New Systems Methods for Analyzing
Environmental Problems with Application to Watersheds and Bioremediation of Groundwater



Friday, April 8 2005, 3:30 PM

Room 825 SWM Building

Christine A. Shoemaker

Joseph P. Ripley Professor of Engineering

School of Civil and Environmental Engr. & School of Operations Research and Industrial Engr. Cornell University


This talk will discuss methodology for data analysis, calibration and optimization in complex environmental modeling. Prof. Shoemaker will describe the application of this methodology to two problems: a) the anaerobic bioremediation of chlorinated ethenes in groundwater and b) phosphorous management in the 1200 km 2 Cannonsville Reservoir, which is one of the City of New York's drinking water reservoirs . The occurrence of eutrophic conditions in the Cannonsville reservoir, due to excessive phosphorus (P) loading, has resulted in restrictions on future economic growth. In addition to the local economic impacts of this problem, New York City could be faced with building a filtration plant costing an estimated 8 billion dollars for its water supply system if water quality in its reservoir system is degraded further. Two new global optimization methods have been developed by Shoemaker and her students. One of the methods uses a function approximation method both to help select each (computationally expensive) simulation done in the optimization search and to serve as a basis for sensitivity and uncertainty analysis. The function approximation optimization algorithm will be shown to work well both on test problems and on the complex bioremediation problem. We have a second new optimization algorithm that is more appropriate for computationally less expensive watershed models like SWAT .